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Wednesday 4 October 2023

The raised beach at Westward Ho!


The raised beach near Seafield House, at Westward Ho!  Photo: Paul Berry

I have been looking at some of the very interesting posts on Paul Berry's blog, and came across this one, about Westward Ho!

The photo above struck me immediately as a quite precise match for Abermawr in West Wales, where we also see an ancient high level raised beach overlain by thick slope deposits of "head".  The deposits rest on an old rock platform at c 8 m OD -- about 6 m above the level of thye present tidal platform.  According to Stewart Campbell in the GCR Review volume (1998) the massive raised beach made of boulders and cobbles is up to 3m thick, and in the upper metre or so the raised beach material is frost-shattered, indicating the onset of a period of periglacial climate which culminated in the accumulation of a 1m layer of slope deposits. According to some workers the materials are erratic-free, but Prof Nick Stephens recorded erratics in the overlying "sandy clay with stones" -- and he was convinced that these were derived from glacial deposits in the immediate vicinity.

Another view of the raised beach, from -- taken by David Evans.

This is truly one of the most spectacular photos of a raised beach that I have ever seen!


A view from the grassy meadow west of Seafield House (1885) - Westward Ho!.
Beach deposits of mainly Culm sandstone cobbles in a sandy matrix lying on an ancient wave cut platform 
Left high and dry when sea levels fell 125,000 years ago.
Covered with head from the period 10,000 - 100,000 years ago when periglacial conditions -
freeze / thaw cycles caused the rock to fragment into a layer of angular stones and small debris.
Ref: 3209
Date: 27/04/2016
Location: SS 4203 2903

The Westward Ho! Pleistocene sequence, from the GCR Review volume, p 225

For comparison:

The raised beach at Porth Killier, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, resting on an irregular granite surface and overlain by a thin till (?) with erratics

Remnants of a raised beach (storm beach) resting on a high rock platform at Abermawr in Pembrokeshire

See also:


Tony Hinchliffe said...

Fascinating Post and fascinating contributor Paul Berry. My parents lived near Westward Ho! 1978 to 1996. Need to take time to read this fully.

BRIAN JOHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes -- Paul's blog and related outputs are impressive. He is a very committed and enthusiastic geography teacher -- and I hope that his posts have inspired many budding geographers over the years.......

Tony Hinchliffe said...

I am going to let Geoff and Fern Clarke (nee Smith) know about this prominent geography lecturer based in South Molton, Devon. They accompanied you on your Durham University undergraduates Field Trip to the Faroes in the summer of 1968 ( 55 years ago!). They have lived in Tiverton, Devon since the early 1970s. I am sure they'll be interested in Paul Berry's Posts on his Blog, like me. Geoff taught at Blundells School in Tiverton.